Lobo pitcher key cog in team success
Growing up, Kyle resident Lexi Becthel was practically raised with a softball bat in one hand and a yellow ball in the other.
Bechtel grew fond of playing softball after she was introduced to the sport by her father, who himself played baseball at a young age.
Ever since then, Bechtel, now a sophomore at Lehman High, continued to grow her skills in the circle, to the point where she has now become one of the rising stars in a program that improved from a year previous.
Bechtel credited new head coach Jesse Bustamante and the team chemistry as factors for their improvement.
“I felt like we really improved more as a team, and we kind of, like, grew together more,” Bechtel said. “I feel like last year we played as individuals, and this year with our new coach he brought us all together. We were playing more as a team.”
Bechtel’s father is one of a few role models that has guided her throughout her career. When Bechtel was younger, her father played on slow-pitch softball teams, which she regularly watched.
“I just kind of always wanted to play. Whenever I was like 8 or 9 I went to my first pitching lesson and that’s when I was, like, that’s what I want to do,” Bechtel said. “That’s when my parents got me into select ball and I’ve been playing ever since.”
Although Bechtel’s passion is pitching, her favorite player was baseball superstar Derek Jeter. Bechtel was so infatuated with the Yankee shortstop that she actually named one of her pets Jeter.
“The first baseball player that I was ever, like, really into was Derek Jeter,” Bechtel said. “Which I really don’t know why I got into him cause he’s not a pitcher, but I really liked him. I always wanted to go to one of his games but I never got to.”
As far as modeling her game, Bechtel said NCAA pitching aces Jennie Finch and Cat Osterman were players she has looked up to. Bechtel said she enjoys analyzing their game and the way they throw.
“As for softball I really looked up to Jennie Finch,” said Bechtel. “When she pitched I wanted to be just like her. She was so good. Her and Cat Osterman I looked up to, but I was more into Jennie Finch. Whenever she quit playing I was really sad about it.”
Bechtel credits a personal trainer outside of school with building up her strength enough to be able to compete at a high level on varsity at a young age. That, coupled with the mental and physical training from the Lehman coaching staff, has put Bechtel on the path as an important piece to the Lobo puzzle.
Going into the offseason Bechtel wants to continue to work on her stamina so she can consistently pitch deep into games.
“I’m working on my stamina, to be able to last in those long games,” Bechtel said. “Also my consistency throughout the game. Because there are some times I’ll be doing really good the first three innings and then the fourth inning I’m kind of off. So I kind of want to be able to last through the entire game and be good the entire game.”
Bechtel believes her offseason work, as well as work from her teammates, will pay off for the Lobos in 2019. Bechtel said the team not only envisions more wins next year, but they also have their eyes set on making the playoffs.
“Our coach is really pushing us right now, not only physically but also mentally. I think we are going to be mentally stronger,” Bechtel said. “Those close games that we had at the end of the season, like the Hays and Lake Travis games, I think next year we should be able to win those games.”